Shaheed Ganj Mosque

Shaheed Ganj Mosque, originally named the Abdullah Khan Mosque (Urdu: مسجد شَهيد گنج), was a mosque in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.[1] The Mosque was commissioned in 1722 during the reign of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah and built by Abdullah Khan construction was completed in 1753 during the reign of Ahmad Shah Bahadur. It was constructed next to the shrine of Pir Shah Kaku. Sikh rule began in 1762, the Gurdwara Bhai Taru Singh was built afterwards within the same grounds. The mosque site was under dispute during British rule, but was demolished by Sikhs on the night of 8 July 1935.[2]

Shaheed Ganj Mosque
LocationLahore, Punjab, Pakistan
CreatorAbdullah Khan
Demolished8 July 1935


Construction of mosqueEdit

Abdullah Khan Mosque was built by Abdullah Khan during the reign of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. Khan was a cook of Prince Dara Shikoh, elder son of Shah Jahan, in 1743 AD, who rose up to the position of kotwal (Chief police officer) of Lahore for his services.[3] It was completed in 1722 (1134 AH) by the Falak Beg Khan,[4] and was built in the premises of the shrine to Pir Shah Kaku.[1]

Sikh rule and occupation/destruction of the mosqueEdit

There was a public square near the mosque, where criminals were punished during the tenure of Nawab Zakariya Khan Bahadur, a Mughal governor of the Punjab in the 18th century. Taru Singh, a Sikh man who aided Sikhs against the Mughals was executed. After that incident, the Sikhs officially declared Taru Singh a martyr and named the public square as the Shaheed Ganj (Martyr Square).[5][unreliable source?]

In 1762, the Bhangi Misl Sikh army conquered Lahore and occupied the mosque, together with the public square. The Muslims were not allowed to enter and pray, although Sikhs were given the right to pray. The Sikhs built a gurdwara called Gurudwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh in remembrance of Sikh martyrs in the courtyard while the Mosque building was used as a residence for the Sikh priest.[6]

British rule and demolition of the mosqueEdit

After British colonial occupation of the Punjab in 1849, The Mosque became an issue between Muslims and Sikhs again. Muslims protested against the Sikh occupation Shaheed Ganj Mosque. On April 17, 1850, Nur Ahmed, a Muslim resident of Lahore, claimed to be a mutawallī (trustee) of the mosque and filed a case in Punjab High Court. Nur Ahmed filed several suits between 1853 and 1883 to recover the Shaheed Ganj Mosque, but courts maintained the status quo.[7]

On 29 June 1935, the Sikhs announced that they would demolish the Shaheed Ganj Mosque. Several thousand Muslims assembled in front of the mosque to protect it and Anjuman-i Tahaffuz-i Masjid Shahidganj (Organization for the protection of the Shaheedgunj Mosque) was formed. Sir Herbert Emerson, the Governor of the Punjab, tried to negotiate to find mutually acceptable solution. But, on the night of 7 July 1935 the Sikhs demolished the mosque, minutes of British India Privy Council say "by or with the connivance of its Sikh custodians",[8] leading to riots and disorder in Lahore.

Muslim reactionsEdit

Jamaat Ali Shah (1834–1951), born in Alipur Sharif Dist, Sialkot, Pakistan, led the Shaheed Ganj Mosque movement.[9][10] After the mosque’s demolition, the Muslims held a public meetings on 19–20 July at the Badshahi Mosque, and marched directly on the Shaheedganj mosque. Police opened fire on the crowd on 20 July. The Muslims fled from the Shahidganj mosque and dispersed on 21 July, after more than a dozen had been killed.[11][12][unreliable source?]

Court caseEdit

The judgement of Bombay High Court on 2 May 1940 on 'Masjid Shahid Ganj Mosque vs Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak' recognized the building as a Mosque but maintained that the Statute of limitations has passed since the property has been occupied by the Sikhs for more than 170 years.[13]


The mosque had three domes each accompanied by a minaret and five arches. It had a courtyard and an orchard of fruit trees.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Journal of Sikh Studies. Department of Guru Nanak Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University. 1975.
  2. ^ Daniyal, Shoaib. "A mosque dispute in colonial Lahore could hold lessons for the Babri Masjid case". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  3. ^ Shaheed Ganj Dispute and ‘Amir-i-Mi!Iat’ Archived September 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Narang, Gokul Chand (1956). Transformation of Sikhism. New Book Society of India.
  5. ^ "Gurdwara Shahid Ganj Singh Singhania, Lahore".
  6. ^ Ahmed, Hilal (2015-06-03). Muslim Political Discourse in Postcolonial India: Monuments, Memory, Contestation. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-55954-2.
  7. ^ Shahidganj Mosque Issue and the Muslims Response: 1935-1936
  8. ^ Lahore’s Gurdwara Shahid Ganj: Lesson for Ayodhya Archived 2014-02-21 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ THE RELIGIOUS AND REFORMATIVE SERVICES OF RENOWNED SUFIS OF SILSILA-E-NAQSHBANDIA MUJADIDIA (1841-2000) Hussain, Mehrban (2008) PhD thesis, University of Karachi, Karachi
  10. ^ "Biographical Encyclopedia of Pakistan". 2001.
  11. ^ Shaheed Gunj Mosque Incident
  12. ^ Edmund Burke, Ervand Abrahamian, Ira Marvin Lapidus (1988). Islam, Politics, and Social Movements. University of California Press. p. 156. ISBN 9780520068681.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ a b Masjid Shahid Ganj Mosque vs Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak on 2 May 1940

External linksEdit